JOYSTICK: ‘Ghost Trick’ a quirky romp of a mystery

Published 7:00 pm Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective - Photo courtesy of Capcom

There’s no objections to the latest puzzle game on the Nintendo DS.

Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is the latest game by Shu Takumi, the game developer at Capcom who created the popular Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney games for the DS.

Featuring a dead guy named Sissel, it’s up to players to solve the mystery of Sissel’s death and figure out why he’s a ghost. Needless to say, there’s a lot of hijinx along the way.

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While this game isn’t mainstream by any means, it’s a fun puzzle game for people who enjoy a little oddball humor and a heaping helping of detective who-dunnit.

Aside from the noir plot and the silly jokes, the game is actually quite fun. Using the DS stylus, players can manipulate objects in any given room to perform “ghost tricks,” which give interesting results based on which items used. On top of that, performing tricks with people who recently died in the game makes Sissel go back in time, to about four minutes before the person died.

The game makes players chain tricks together in fun ways and puzzle-loving people will enjoy figuring out how to make certain objects work together, as well as figuring out how to solve these puzzles. The art style is gorgeous and the graphics are well-built considering Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is a handheld game.

The game is rated T for mild language and mild violence, however. The cartoon violence and schtick jokes seem to be stolen from Charlie Chaplin films, and some of the events will seem strange to players who may not know about Japanese trends.

Regardless, Ghost Trick: Phantom Detective is an addicting game that makes you think. The plot is well-written and it’s catchy, especially for fans of the Phoenix Wright and Ace Attorney games.

Let’s hope game designers like Takumi make side projects like this more often.